body life

Last week a client asked me watch videos of their “Body Life” series of classes, designed to introduce people to the church and its culture, and suggest ways to revamp the material into a shorter, more conversational video project. It was one of the best investments of time I made this month – and not just because I’ll get paid for the work.

Over the course of the five-week class, the teaching pastors and other leaders teach on Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17 and tie this prayer for “echad” or oneness …


buzzing off

In a few weeks, my final “Buzz” column will appear in Christian Standard.
I’ve been writing the column since 2003 or 2004, so long that I can’t remember and also can’t double-check because the first editions are on a laptop under my bed that no longer works.

Beginning in July, the new owners and new publisher of the magazine will re-launch with a new slate of columnists. Very few of us have been invited to keep writing, in fact. I’m not surprised by this, but I am a little saddened. …


sharing your stories

A few weeks ago, I was working on a sermon about the Holy Spirit and asked the Facebook hive mind for help with one of my points. My buddy Chris, a pastor in
, offered to share both a completed sermon he’d recently written as well as his entire Evernote notebook of sermon illustrations. Although I didn’t use any of his sermon (mine ended up going another direction), I have used a few of his illustrations for a different sermon I co-preached with Matt as well as some small group curriculum I wrote.

Slow clap for my awesome friend Chris.

When he shared his …


basic training

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

A few years ago I wrote a proposal for an online initiative that would provide customizable resources for churches wanting to develop their pastors, worship leaders, campus ministers, church planters, elders, and key volunteers. I suggested an online portal with everything from 101 to seminary-level books, articles, podcasts, and videos, as well as suggested “tracks” with curated lists of resources for specific groups. I referred to research from the Barna Group and Ed Stetzer as well as insights from the leaders of Orchard Group, …


repost: unitasking

Do you ever have to make the same goal several years in a row because you don’t make much progress on it, and because the circus of websites on your screen and worries on your mind seem to multiply each year, and because the entire Western world seems determined to destroy your every attempt at focus and concentration?

No? Oh. Ok. Never mind.

I live my life as a multitasker. Some of it’s harmless, like paying bills while watching a favorite movie (I’ve seen “Clue” so many times I don’t even …


I’m finally ready to choose my major


Last year I read an article about one of the people who designed the sets for “Mad Men.” She spent her days researching the 60s, scouring antique stores for vintage items, and making sure every shot of the series was as true to the time period as possible. (At times, I’ll admit, it veered to the slightly ridiculous; her team only used small, imperfect apples for a bowl on a boss’s desk because farmers sprayed fewer pesticides back then and apples didn’t get as big.)

This fall my mom and …


repost: business matters

2404849371_02a88db594_o-538x218In the past 15 days, I’ve traveled to Kansas City, grieved the pretty sudden death of our dog, done eight loads of laundry at the Laundromat after our brand-new Samsung dryer died almost on arrival, traveled to Knoxville and preached at Johnson University, celebrated our not-sudden-at-all huge win in custody court, and spent the weekend in NYC to participate in the party for my brother and his wife and their almost-here baby (December 9th due date! I’m going to be an aunt!).

So I’m a wee bit sleepy.

I don’t …


old glory

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:


For years I’ve heard that Grandma Moses began her acclaimed painting career at age 78. I always rolled my eyes when older people (that is, older than me) quoted that fact, assuming it somehow comforted them to think their own chance for “significance” hadn’t passed them by.

Then I turned 40 and began seeing more people posting more lists of leaders and celebrities who had started their most successful ventures later in life: Henry Ford, who created the Model T at 45. Julia Child, who wrote …


a blogging break

photo2Most social media experts will tell you that blogging is all about momentum. In fact, I have said that to others myself when asked for advice about launching a new blog. It’s important to post regularly and consistently, I’ll say, or you’ll have trouble developing a “voice” or building a following.

It’s good advice, and it’s true, but as we stumble into the new year I’m going to stop following it. This year marks the tenth year of this blog; since I started blogging in 2006 I’ve been laid off, started freelancing, …


preaching at ICOM

It was a privilege—and a lot of fun—to speak at the International Conference on Missions a couple weeks ago. Here’s what I had to say, followed by a short Q&A with Caleb Kaltenbach and Ben Cachiaras.